August 06, 2015
City Council Chamber
NOLA City Council Regular Meeting News Summary
Thursday, August 6, 2015 - New Orleans, LA - At today's Regular City Council meeting, the Council adopted ordinances requiring City contractors and recipients of grants to pay employees who are involved in city contracted work a minimum of $10.55/hour and provide a minimum of 7 paid sick days; increasing the maximum allowable age of taxicab models; granting the Orleans Levee District (OLD) two parcels of land for the purposes of constructing, operating and maintaining the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity (LPV) Permanent Canal Closures and Pumps (PCCP); and authorizing a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the City and the Lakeview Civic Improvement Association (LCIA) for the purpose of maintaining the Harrison Avenue Streetscape. The Council also passed resolutions to dedicate a special budget meeting to discuss BP settlement funds, recognize August 6, 2015 as the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act and June 26 of each year as LGBTQ Equality Day in New Orleans.
In other business, the Council heard presentations from the Pan-Hellenic Council, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Forum for Equality, and the Human Rights Campaign on civil rights issues and recent Supreme Court rulings. The Council also presented a posthumous proclamation to the family of Mrs. Evelyn McCoy Gastinell for her work with senior citizens, and Council President Jason R. Williams recognized District "E" Councilmember James Gray on his 69th birthday.
Adopted Living Wage Ordinance
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,550, the "Living Wage Ordinance," authored by Councilmember Brossett, requiring City contractors and recipients of grants to pay employees who are involved in City contracted work a minimum of $10.55/hour and provide a minimum of 7 paid sick days. Employers that pay their lowest paid employee 30% above the required living wage will be exempt from the sick leave requirement. It will apply to contractors with $25,000 or more in annual City contracts as well as recipients of City financial assistance of $100,000 or more over any 12 month period. On January 1 of each year, the "Living Wage" will be adjusted in accordance with the consumer price index but will never be adjusted downward. The "Living Wage Ordinance" ensures that taxpayer dollars extended by the City to private contractors will enable full-time workers to support a family at a level that meets basic needs and avoids economic hardship. The payment of higher wages is associated with increased levels of business investment, employee training, higher worker productivity, and lower employee absenteeism and turnover. The ordinance will go into effect January 1, 2016.
District "D" Councilmember Brossett said, "The Living Wage Ordinance will go a long way towards improving the standard of living for many New Orleanians. We have too many people who work hard but struggle to put food on the table for their families. The City of New Orleans is limited by State law in our ability to affect the minimum wage, but with this ordinance, we have made it possible for workers who are paid with City money to receive fair wages."
Dedicated Special Budget Meeting to Discuss BP Settlement Funds
The Council passed Resolution No. R-15-375, co-authored by all Councilmembers, dedicating a special budget meeting to discuss the criteria and priorities for expenditures of the BP Macondo well oil spill litigation settlement funds. In 2010, the Gulf Coast was devastated by the explosion of the BP Macondo well and the resulting oil spill. The City of New Orleans is expected to receive an estimated $37 million settlement as a result of the class action litigation. The Council wishes to provide an open and transparent process for developing proposals and receiving comments from the public to address community needs and interests. The outcomes from the Council's discussions and deliberations will be submitted to the Mayor in the form of a list of priorities for his consideration and inclusion in any budget request for expenditures from the settlements.
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "This settlement is a real opportunity for the City to address some very important needs that would never be possible through the regular budgeting process. The purpose of the resolution today is to make sure the Council creates a public process to deliberate on and prioritize the most pressing long term needs of the city and its residents."
Authorized Servitude Agreement for Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane and Flood Protection Project
|Orleans Avenue Canal Pump Station Rendering|
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,807, authored by Councilmember Brossett, authorizing the Mayor to sign a servitude agreement between the City and the Orleans Levee District (OLD), granting the OLD two parcels of land on the west side of the Orleans Avenue outfall canal along Crystal and General Haig Streets. The land will be used by OLD for the purposes of constructing, operating and maintaining the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity (LPV) Permanent Canal Closures and Pumps (PCCP) hurricane and flood protection project.
The PCCP is currently being constructed at the mouth of the Orleans Avenue outfall canal and consists of permanent gated storm surge barriers and a brick pump station near the lakefront. The pump station will move rainwater out of the canal, around the flood gates and into Lake Pontchartrain during a tropical weather event, providing a permanent measure to reduce risk of 100-year level storm surge from entering the canal. Construction on the Orleans Avenue Canal Pump Station is expected to be completed in 2017.
District "D" Councilmember Brossett said, "This ordinance ensures that a permanent gated storm surge barrier and pump station are constructed at the Orleans Avenue outfall canal. We will continue to work with our partners in the public and private sectors to ensure the City's hurricane and flood protection system is maintained and upgraded to offer the highest level of safety to New Orleanians possible."
Authorized Harrison Avenue Streetscape Improvements
|District "A" |
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,868, authored by Councilmember Guidry, authorizing a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) between the City and the Lakeview Civic Improvement Association (LCIA) for the purpose of maintaining the Harrison Avenue Streetscape. Under the agreement, LCIA will maintain all shrubs, groundcovers, and irrigation systems, including the drift rose beds, daylily beds and liriope groundcover in the tree wells on the Harrison Avenue median and sidewalks between Canal and Argonne Boulevards. The City will continue to mow the medians and maintain the trees in the area on its regular maintenance cycle.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "This agreement will allow the City and LCIA to maintain the newly installed landscaping on Harrison Avenue, a model neighborhood commercial corridor in District A. The dedicated members and leadership of LCIA have been instrumental in the rebuilding and recovery of the past ten years, particularly with respect to Lakeview's many beautiful green spaces, and I am pleased to see this public-private partnership continue."
Increased the Maximum Allowable Age of Taxicab Models
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,873, authored by Councilmembers Williams, Ramsey, Brossett and Gray, increasing the maximum allowable age of taxicab models. Under the ordinance, taxicab vehicles that have already obtained a Certificate of Public Necessity and Convenience (CPNC) may continue to operate through the vehicle's eighth model year, provided the vehicle continues to be in compliance with the City Code. The Ordinance also allows for vehicle age to be measured from the date of purchase with proof that the vehicle's odometer is less than 600 miles at purchase.
Council President Jason Williams said, "When regulating the taxi industry, public safety is our number one concern. By increasing the maximum age of taxicab models, we reduce some of the burden on the taxi industry with no risk to the public and taxi customers."
Recognized June 26th as LGBTQ Equality Day in the City of New Orleans
LA ACLU Exec. Dir. Marjorie Esman, Forum for Equality
Exec. Dir. Sarah Jane Brady, Human Rights Campaign Board of Directors Member Lester Perryman addressing the Council
The Council passed Resolution No. R-15-368, authored by Councilmembers Williams, Head, Guidry, Cantrell, Ramsey, Brossett and Gray, recognizing June 26th of each year as LGBTQ Equality Day in New Orleans. The Council received a presentation from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Forum for Equality, and the Human Rights Campaign calling for the recognition of LGBTQ Equality Day in light of recent rulings handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court that advance the rights LGBTQ people. On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down prohibitions on federal recognition of marriages between same-sex couples, invalidated the first half of the Defense of Marriage Act, and struck down all laws prohibiting marriage between two persons of the same sex. LGBTQ Equality Day will serve as a reminder of gains made toward equality for LGBTQ citizens as well as a reminder of the work yet to be accomplished to create true acceptance and equality.
Council President Jason Williams said, "New Orleans has a proud tradition of accepting and promoting equality for all people. LGBTQ Equality Day is a reminder of the commitment of activists, organizers, lawyers, allies and average citizens that are fighting for basic rights for the LGTBQ community."
Recognized the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
The Council unanimously passed Resolution No. R-15-337, recognizing August 6, 2015 as the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and remembering those who struggled and died for the freedom and the right to vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is landmark federal legislation that was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965. The legislation bans discriminatory voting policies at all levels of government and is credited for the enfranchisement of millions of minority voters, as well as the diversification of the electorate and legislative bodies throughout the government.
|New Orleans Pan-Hellenic Council Chapter President Reginald A. Starks |
The Pan-Hellenic Council, a group representing nine historically black fraternities and sororities, presented before the City Council to commemorate the signing anniversary. The presentation outlined the struggle for equal voting rights and highlighted the significant progress made by the Voting Rights Act to protect the rights of every American.
District "E" Councilmember Gray said, "Clearly the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is one of the most important pieces of legislation in my lifetime. It has changed America."
Posthumously Recognized Founder and Director of the Lower Algiers Senior Center
|Family members of Mrs. Evelyn McCoy Gastinell with Councilmembers |
Gray and Ramsey
The Council posthumously recognized Mrs. Evelyn McCoy Gastinell, Founder and Executive Director of the Lower Algiers Senior Center, who passed away on Friday July 24, 2015. The Council presented the family of Mrs. Gastinell with a proclamation recognizing her as a "Voice for the Voiceless" due to her tireless efforts in helping to improve the lives of not only seniors in her community, but anyone in need. The Center, founded in 2002, provides multiple social services to seniors including counseling, meals and computer training as well as social and recreational activities.
District "C" Councilmember Ramsey said, "The passing of Mrs. Gastinell is a monumental loss to our community. She will live on in the lives she touched through her work at the senior center and throughout all areas of her extraordinary life."